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Remarks by Dr. Charles B. Reed
Chancellor, California State University
African-American Community Event
Los Angeles, CA
March 24, 2005

Thank you, Bishop Blake, for that welcome and for hosting us this morning. And thank you to all of you for joining us here.

CSU’s African American Students

The California State University was founded on a mission to provide access to a quality higher education for California’s students.

The CSU and its 23 campuses represent the most diverse higher education system in the country, with more than 53 percent students of color.

In fall 2004, we enrolled 22,500 undergraduate and graduate African-American students. That number includes 14,600 women and 7,900 men.

The CSU is also the state’s leading institution when it comes to granting degrees to traditionally underrepresented students. In 2002/03, the CSU granted more than half of all undergraduate degrees to California’s Latino, African American and Native American students. Last year alone, our campuses granted nearly 4,000 undergraduate and graduate degrees to African-American students.

The CSU also provides a bridge to other higher educational opportunities such as doctoral degrees through special programs like our forgivable loan program. That program provides forgivable loans to promising doctoral students who go on to teach at the CSU.

CSU Impact

We all know how important higher education is to an individual and his or her career path. But higher education also has an important impact on the larger community.

Last fall the CSU released a report on the systemwide impact of the university system.
The report gave us solid evidence to show that the CSU has a major impact on California and its citizens.

Because of what we learned in this report, we can say with confidence:

  • A CSU education helps to empower thousands of individuals in California.

  • A CSU education helps to build better communities in California.

  • Given the size of our operations, and the influence of our graduates throughout California, the CSU’s total economic impact is more than four times greater than the amount of tax dollars the state spends to support us. The CSU more than pays for itself.

In addition, more than 185,000 students contribute over 33 million hours of service to their communities each year, in areas ranging from education and social services to safety and crime prevention.

We are proud of our impact as an institution and we believe we are the best at what we do in the country. That said, we still have a lot of work to do in our underserved communities.

Setting the Stage for Discussion

A goal of ours is to expand the pool of eligible African-American students and increase their graduation rates.

Last month, at a summit hosted by the National Governors’ Association, we learned that America’s educational system is losing most of its black males between 6th grade and 12th grade.

We look to you for suggestions on how we can improve that situation. I hope you share your thoughts with us on:

  • What are the biggest obstacles we face?
  • Where are the missing links/Where are students falling through the cracks?
  • What are some successful strategies for reaching students?

We hope that this event can be just the beginning of an ongoing discussion of how we can help reach more African-American students and help them along the path to a college degree.

I would now like to turn the podium over to someone who is well known to many of you, CSU Trustee Herb Carter.

Herb has worked with the CSU system for many years. He has served as systemwide affirmative action officer, executive vice chancellor, and acting president of Cal State Dominguez Hills. Governor Schwarzenegger appointed him to the Board of Trustees in 2004.

Welcome, Herb.

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